Fairborn woman recounts Cincinnati gorilla exhibit incident

FAIRBORN, Ohio (WDTN) – A Fairborn woman said she tried to stop the boy who got inside the Cincinnati Zoo’s Gorilla World exhibit.

Brittany Nicely describes what it was like being there Saturday afternoon as “chaos.” According to her, she was one person away from the 4-year-old boy’s mother and there was no stopping him.

“Just out of the corner of my eye I seen him and I tried, I wasn’t fast enough,” Nicely said.

She has a scratch on her leg from attempting to stop him as he slipped through the thorny brush.

One of many barriers broken by the child, separating the animals from spectators at the exhibit.

“Before I could reach for him or grab for him he was already in the water. He jumped. He didn’t fall. He wanted to be in the water. He was going all in,” said Nicely.

According to her, Harambe, a 400-some pound male gorilla appeared to have taken a liking to the boy and describes his actions more so affectionate, than violent.

“He was trying to protect that child. I don’t feel like he wanted to harm him. He was in there for ten minutes so if you think that he would want to that would have already happened,” she said.

The Zoo’s director, Thane Maynard said on Saturday its dangerous animal response team didn’t see it that way.

“It was a life threatening situation. And so the choice was made to put down, or shoot Harambe,” Maynard said.

Before the trigger was pulled, Nicely said everyone was escorted out but she and her kids heard the fatal shot.

“It was a sad, sad day. Thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved. The parents of the child, the Cincinnati Zoo, the other gorillas that lived with him. Just very sad,” said Nicely.

People on social media seem to think Nicely is the mother of the boy who got inside. According to her many people have been sending her threatening messages.

As for another trip to the zoo, she said one won’t be happening any time soon.

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